undercurrents 2018

I already wrote a post about the regularly scheduled theatre goings-on in Ottawa this  February, but there’s one big chunk of programming I thought deserved its own post!


Always the big event in Ottawa’s February, the undercurrents Festival (always in lowercase, they’re real sticky on that point, holy cow) is back for its 6th (7th? 8Th? More than 2, I’m almost positive) incarnation, and director Pat Gauthier has put together another stellar lineup! I mean, okay, there’s no FASTER THAN THE SPEED OF DATING this time around, but it’s still pretty good, I guess. But seriously folks, come on out to the newly renovated Arts Court (and in one show’s case, the National Arts Centre) and enjoy the party with the following hit lineup of shows! The programming runs from the 7th to 17th, full festival schedule and lineup available at the fest website!

Photo Credit Japhet Alvarez

THE PIPELINE PROJECT from Savage Production Society and Itsazoo Productions. Native rights, land claims, big oil and climate change collide for a show about as topical as you can manage, and featuring brand new AD of  Indigenous Theatre at the NAC Kevin Loring, along with Quelemia Sparrow and Kevin Archibald.

Photo Credit Barbara Havrot

FORSTNER AND FILLISTER PRESENT: FORSTNER AND FILLISTER IN: FORSTNER AND FILLISTER from F&F Theatre. Dave Benedict Brown and Will Somers are the titular Forstner and Fillister (or perhaps Fillister and Forstner…wouldn’t THAT be something!) in this comedic tale of brotherly woodworking gone desperately wrong.  Starring two of Ottawa’s funniest and talented gents, and featuring direction from the wonderful Madeleine Boyes-Manseau, it’s gonna be a night of cabinetry and comedy to remember Beware of flying sawdust.

Photo Credit Japhet Alvarez

LITTLE BOXES from Little Boxes Collective. A brand new creation from Gabbie Lazarovitz and Brad Long, starring Gabbie Laz and Carter Hayden, and directed by Adam Paolozza. A suburban thriller that sounds mucho intriguing, and Gabbie Laz is a local treasure who must always be seen when onstage. ALWAYS.


THE TWILIGHT PARADE from STO Union. At Arts Court Theatre. A Puppet-based true-life magical adventure film with live performances and contributions from over 70 people, and the sentence I just typed is so insane I cannot WAIT to see this piece.

Photo credit Emily Cooper

HOW TO DISAPPEAR COMPLETELY from The Chop. Itai Erdal’s celebrated one-man show (co-created by himself, James Long, Anita Rochon and Emilia Semington Fedy) combining his artistry for lighting with the true story of his Mother’s final days. A multi-award winning show that will surely be a festival highlight (pun sort-of intended)

Photo Credit Alejandro Santiago

DAUGHTER from Quiptake and Pandemic Theate. Described by NOW Magazine’s Glenn Sumi as a ‘strong, disturbing play’, this one-manner starring Adam Lazarus and directed by Ann-Marie Kerr tackles fatherhood, patriarchy and misogyny, putting it head to head with THE PIPELINE PROJECT for most topical show at the festival. It’s also the one that ducks out of Arts Court, with just 2 showings at the NAC Rossy Pavillion. UPDATE: Daughter is now down to just ONE showing on the 10th at 7pm, at the NAC Fourth Stage.  Topical AND rare!

Photo Credit Japhet Alvarez

THE SHIT SHOW from Emergence. The first of two late-night shows in the Studio, Luna Allison (last seen on the undercurrents stage with her amazing FALLING OPEN) returns with this show about, you guessed it, poop. So okay maybe not going for most topical, but be honest, you’re intrigued, aren’t you? And Allison is a gifted performer, so whatever she’s got planned…it ain’t shit.

SnackMusic_IngridHansen_CredLaura Dittmann
Photo Credit Laura Dittman

SNACK MUSIC from SNAFU and the Snack Music Collective. Late night show for week 2 brings us the return to undercurrents of Ingrid Hansen (LITTLE ORANGE MAN) with the terrific Elliot Loran and Andrew G.Young in tow for this storytelling food-based improv extravaganza (you can also catch Snack Music this weekend at the NAC for their kid-friendly TABLE TOP TALES).

Photo Credit Japhet Alvarez

INDIGENOUS WALKS. Returning from last year’s festival, the guided walking tour of downtown Ottawa once again points out areas and landmarks of specific indigenous meaning and history. As good a reason as you’re going to get to head outside this month!

NEW PLAY TUESDAY on the 13th. A one-night tradition, this year’s crop of exciting new staged readings from local playwrights includes FOUR WHORES AND A PRO by Joanne John, UNRESOLVED by J.Katrina Wong, and COACH OF THE YEAR by Pierre Brault. A Free event, along with the opening and closing night parties!

So that’s it for the nuts and bolts of this years festival…but reading about it ain’t nothing compared to seeing it, trust me. The always-in-lowercase undercurrents is a very special and vibrant part of the Ottawa cultural scene, and if y’all are not going, you’re missing out large. I hope to see a ton of you there. You’ll be glad you went. Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid

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